Scott Lazo

Candidate for three-year term on the Southbridge Town Council

Scott Lazo has his own twist on a slogan that has become quite familiar across the country. He is hoping voters elect him to the Town Council in an effort to “make Southbridge great again.”

Lazo, aged 60, a local businessman, is running for a three-year term on the Southbridge Town Council. The Democrat is a familiar name and face to Southbridge politics, having previously serving as a member of the Town Council for 4 1/2 years, including two years as its chairman, and 16 years on the School Committee, including six years as its chairman. Lazo, currently serving on the School Committee, has also served as chairman of the Southbridge Middle/High School Building Committee, has coached youth football for 17 years, and seven years as the president of Southbridge Pop Warner.

The main issues in town needing to be addressed, according to Lazo, are making the town more “business friendly” and “long-range planning of our finances.” He also cited concerns of infrastructure decay, water and tax rates, and closure of the landfill. Lazo believes his experience is what is needed to combat these issues, and added: “I would insist that we start putting Southbridge residents first on all hiring if equally qualified. We must put Southbridge first and make Southbridge great again.”

The Citizen Chronicle: What prior experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve?

Scott Lazo: As an experienced business man, raising five kids with my wife Lisa of 35 years, a property owner and a taxpayer, coupled with my governmental experience, shows that I am the well-rounded candidate for the position.

The Citizen Chronicle: What do you think makes a good Town Councilor?

Scott Lazo: Honesty, strength in your convictions, experience, and being open minded enough to deal with all people is what makes a good Town Councilor. As I’ve always said in government “you have the right to disagree, but you don’t have to hate anybody.”

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the future of the fire station?

Scott Lazo: With our fire station now over 100 years old, what we need to look at now is how to find a way to keep the historical aspect of the building while still bringing it up to modern code. As the former chairman of the Middle/High School Building Committee, I know what the Fire Station Building Committee is going through. Jack Jovan is the chairman of the Fire Station Building Committee, and the studies that they are conducting will shine light on the best solution.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the status of the public school district?

Scott Lazo: Our school system is under a dictatorship by the state. Dictatorships don’t work in America. As a member of the Southbridge School Committee for the last three years, I’ve witnessed the state take the school district from the people of Southbridge first hand. We are on our fourth Receiver — I have my fingers crossed and I am praying for the school system, because so far, the state has only taken us backwards. With $450,000 in unemployment due to the fact that we cannot keep people in Southbridge, the revolving door created by the state continues. The Town Council, in their generosity, have financed the schools properly; the problem is in the leadership and management of the State.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the status of the landfill?

Scott Lazo: Whichever way you choose to interpret last year’s ballot question regarding the landfill, the citizens of Southbridge have spoken and they do not want a landfill in their town, and I will never go against a referendum by the people, whether I agree or not. This government belongs to the people of Southbridge. The contract reads that there’s nearly 10 years left of trash and recycling pickup from Casella in Southbridge. We need to figure out what our next step is going to be for trash pickup, and we need experienced Councilors like myself to figure out the solution.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the hotly debated riverside park proposal?

Scott Lazo: While the town needs more attractions for children and families, there were too many question marks with this particular deal. Whether the financing worked out or not, there’s a pretty good chance the ground is contaminated just like it was not too far from there at the entrance to North Woodstock Road just a few years ago. We must do our homework before we present something. We can not be reactionary, we have to be proactive.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the reputation of the town and its leadership?

Scott Lazo: As an experienced elected official, I will not pass judgment on the existing leadership of Southbridge. I know those officials are doing the best job that they can. Their goals are the same as mine, to make Southbridge great again. If elected, I will provide a different style of leadership coupled with communication with each and every official that will produce results so that Southbridge can win again. The Town of Southbridge is on a slippery slope of tax and spending. The future of Southbridge depends on its financial stability. With the closing of the landfill, revenues are going to get tight, and we need innovative ideas on every project we do. If elected, I will provide a team concept through communication where every citizen can be part of the solution.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the future of Town Manager Ron San Angelo?

Scott Lazo: I have not worked with Ron San Angelo, and I’m looking forward to working with him on the issues and keeping personalities and outside opinions on the sidelines where they belong. Under this form of government and the Southbridge Town Charter, Councilors must work hand-in-hand with the Town Manager.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is Southbridge’s greatest asset?

Scott Lazo: Southbridge’s greatest asset is its people. I’ve lived in Southbridge for 60 years, and the community has always been a melting pot of ethnicities. We must elect the leaders with experience that can represent all people in the town of Southbridge.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is Southbridge’s greatest problem?

Scott Lazo: Southbridge’s greatest problem for decades has been its political in-fighting, where elected officials choose personality fights over solving issues. For example, after studying the building and management of the new middle/high school for 10 years, there was a political election that changed the management of the new middle/high school from two principals to one just 30 days before opening the building, because of a personality conflict with an administrator — a decision that ended up being detrimental to the operations. The voters must put experienced people in place so something like this doesn’t happen again.

 

This week, The Citizen Chronicle will be publishing interviews with the current candidates for a seat on the Southbridge Town Council. This year there will be four seats on the general election ballot on June 12. There will be three three-year seats decided on by the voters, and one one-year seat to fill a vacancy made by the resignation of Wally MacKenzie.

Interviews with the current Town Council candidates will be published in transcript-form. The publication schedule is as follows:

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